Crap! It’s Summer Again… Now What?!

It is my experience that most people look forward to summer.

I don’t like those people.

Since I happen to be a mom of school aged children, I hate summer… loath it, don’t want it to start. I tried to rip June, July and August off the calendar and hide those months until my husband informed me that that was just a dumb plan and really wouldn’t keep summer from coming.

Ok, fine.

We will have summer.

But I am not going to like it.

Ok, that’s not true. I’ll like it, well I want to like it.  It’s just that I have gone soft. I am not used to the kids home all day every day being all up in my business.

boys being silly

I’m not used to their non-stop crazy antics like what the hell is a banana fart and why does it involve trying to pull over the dinner table.

I mean, last summer about near killed me. By the end of July, I contemplated breaking the law just for a stint in Jail because Jail sounded like a little slice of heaven.

Yeah, it was bad. If you don’t believe me… just ask my liver. We still aren’t on speaking terms.

Anyway, you get it. I was dreading the end of school.

But then it hit me.

I am a strong, smart, college educated woman. I have life experience. I can do something about this. I can plan. I am good at planning. I can organize. I am so so about organizing.

I put my girl panties on and asked myself, what is it about the school year that I like besides the fact that the kids are going from the house for more than 6 hours a day?

And I answered myself, “The schedule!”

We have a routine. Its all laid out. The kids know what is going to happen, I know what is going to happen. It’s wonderful.

Then it hit me, so simple, so genius, so awesome… Let’s have a daily summer schedule that is posted so that the kids know what is going to happen when. It will be laminated because laminated things mean business and are respected. Then when the kids are ‘board’ or asking to watch TV or play video games for the 87th time in the first hour of being awake, I can just point at the schedule.

Bam! Done! Shut your mouth and do it!

The other thing that is a sanity savor for this summer is activities. Things to go and do so that we are not just stuck at home looking at each other. Things that get us out and let us experience the world… or at the very least the city where we live.

But going out and doing things can get very expensive and before you know it you can spend your whole wine fund on sending kids to summer camps and we all know that it just unacceptable.

Now don’t throw out the baby with the bath water just yet, tempting as that my be and  turn to your trusty friend the Internet, Facebook and even talk to people, yes real face to face conversations with people, and you will find little gems like Michael’s Passport to Imagination program.

PassportSummer_2014_pin_US

 

Michael’s, you know the craft store, has a summer crafting program for kids. It’s for kids ages 5 and up held across the country at Michael’s stores. It happens Monday, Wednesday and Friday starting June 16 to August 1st from 10am to 12pm and it’s only $2 per kid.

For me that’s $8 for 2 hours of entertainment for the children. That’s crazy talk because getting them to clean the basement costs me at least $20… and they don’t even like doing that.

This year, Michael’s has partnered with 7 of North America’s best museums to create a museum road trip. Each day, kids will experience culture through crafts with projects inspired by world-class museum exhibits.

Hot damn! I’m signing my kid’s up.

It’s a win win situation. The kids get to learn cool things and they get to craft with crafting professionals at a craft store which will keep the glitter use to a minimum at my house meaning the dinner table will not look like a stripper’s closet threw up on it.

Stages of a Butterfly

We are so going next week, maybe twice so make sure and watch for stories of our experience.

And in the mean time… Good luck to us all. We are gonna need it.

 

 

*I was not compensated to write this post… I was given a gift card to attend the Passport to Imagination program but I would have attended it anyways because kids love crafting and I have to do something with these kids. 

 

Thoughts from a Mom at the Beginning of Summer Vacation

first day of school photo*first day of school September 2012*

Ok. Ok.

Deep breath.

Breath in and out… in and out.

I can do this.

I used to do this all the time. It was no big deal. It was the norm.

There is no need to be scared, no need to fear the next three months.

It will be fine.

We will have fun. Yes, we will have fun.

I managed to find a babysitter to come into the house when needed. She didn’t run away screaming after she met the kids who acted like they were chipmunks on speed. I mean, the kids were so insane during this meet and greet that I wanted to leave the house.

And I’m required to say.

Nope, don’t worry about that. They will behave. I’m pretty sure about that.

We can come and go as we please. There will no routine. No need to get up and get dressed before 10am. No homework to complete. No things to get done. No lunches to pack.

But wait, I will still need to feed them. Oh goodness, the feeding that will need to happen. All meals at home, I will have to make lunch, I hate making lunch and then the constant asking for a snack.

No, no, don’t think about that. Just have them eat Fiber One bars, sure they will be gas powered but at least they will be full.

I used to scoff at moms that complained about school being over but that was back when I was tough and had all four of them home. Now with my 9 months of parole everyday from 8am to 4pm, I’ve gone soft. I’m delicate and they are dirty and loud.

Nope, nope… don’t think like that. I can do this.

They are just kids.

They are just kids.

I am the adult.

I can handle this.

And for the things I can’t, that is where there is bedtime, Twitter and a well stocked wine rack.

Ok, summer break… Bring It On.

I’m ready but please be gentle.

photo*last day of school June 2013*

Playing Tennis

“WE ARE GOING TO THE PARK AND YOU WILL ALL PLAY OUTSIDE AND LIKE IT!!!” I screamed.

The TV had been off for 15 minutes and already each one of the kids had asked me like 30 times if they could watch TV or play the DS.

I had had enough.

The weather had finally turned a bit cooler so that when you stepped out side you didn’t sweat like a virgin in a whore house so it was off to the park.

I was going to get my children to run around and play if it was the last thing I did.

“Look guys, a big sand box!” I said trying to get the kids excited, “Why don’t you all go play while I set up lunch.”

They all walked over the sand box, sat down and sulked. Every once and while I would see someone push sand around with their foot.

There was a big part of me that wanted to scream and yell and force them to play but I decided that it was their loss and I was going to enjoy being outside at the park even if they didn’t.

While I set up lunch, Jake came over to watch me.

“Oh, look mom…” he began, “Those girls are playing Olympics!”

I turned to see what in the world Jake was talking about.

“You mean those girls right there?” I asked pointing to two teenage girls playing on the Tennis courts.

Jake nodded.

“They are playing tennis,” I clarified.

“Mommy, I want to play tennis?” Jake began, “How old do I have to be to play tennis? Can you find me some lessons so that I can learn to play because mommy, I love playing tennis. It is so awesome and I would be the best tennis player ever.”

Jake continued to ramble on in perfect Jake fashion. I smiled and nodded and quickly answered each question with a, “we’ll have to see.”

With lunch set up, I call all the kids and we began to eat.

Of course there were complaints about the food, “I don’t like peanut butter…. I wanted turkey, not ham…. I hate mayonnaise.”

“Deep breaths,” I told myself, “deep breaths.”

“Mommy, if I am going to play tennis… I will need one of those stick things,” Jake started again as the other three ran off to play on the swings. ” I think those girls are pretty awesome at tennis. I wonder if they will teach me because I really want to learn to play tennis. I am really, really strong and I would hit the ball hard!”

And just like there were prompted, the two girls playing tennis came over to us, “Do you want to play with us?” they asked.

Jake beamed, they couldn’t have made him happier if they would have given him a life size working Iron Man suit.

He jumped off the table as I nodded in approval and ran off.

I used this opportunity to check on the other three who were now finally playing.

“See,” I said to myself, “they do remember how to play… TV is not stealing their imaginations like some people say.”

I walked back over to the tennis courts and watch the two girls try to teach Jake to hit a tennis ball. I couldn’t help but giggle because he seemed to be hitting every thing  but the ball.

Every once in a while, Jake would hit the ball and the smile of pride on that boy was priceless.

Soon, like older kids do, the girls grew tired tennis with a 5 year old and told him they needed to take a break. Jake bounded over to me with a spring in his step and even though I had watched the whole thing, he recapped it all for me.

“Here,” one of the girls said, taking me by surprise, as she held out the rackets, “We want him to have these.”

I stoop up,  shocked.

Jake face lit up like a neon sign on the Vegas strip as he took the rackets from the girl.

“What? Are you sure?” I stumbled over my words.

“Yeah. These rackets are getting small for us and I called my dad to ask and he said it was fine,” she said as she got on her scooter.

“Oh… ok,” I said, totally taken a back by her kindness, “Thank you… what do you say, Jake?”

“Fthank you! Fthank you so much,” Jake yelled and waved as the girls rode off.

The other kids were now around us, curious as to what was going on.

“Hey, guys!” Jake yelled to his sibblings, “You want to play tennis. I will teach you because I know how since those girls teached me.”

I watched all my kids run onto the tennis court to play. I smiled and wished that some how the parents of those girls could have seen them because they are totally doing something right with those girls.

Happiness that is Swimming and Peeing

Do you know what’s fun?

Swimming!

Kids like it. Adults like it.

It’s just an all around good time.

You know what’s not fun?

Peeing.

Or getting your sandals peed on by some kid because they can’t control their bladder because they absorb water like a sponge.

To read all about this little swimming adventure,

head over to my post at Four Plus an Angel.

Oh yes, the Joy of Swimming

Easy-Peasy Makes Mommy Happy Margarita Recipe

Summers seems to be winding down.

Across the country kids are returning to school.

Here, we have a couple more weeks before we start back.

Thankfully, the heat wave that we experienced around these parts seems to be a thing of the past.

And yes, I know how that I said that, it will get hot again but that’s alright.

I say, let’s end summer with a bang!

But hot summer days can be stressful.

I don’t know about you but I don’t handle heat very well… actually, I melt and can get a bit cranky at times.

One way that I like to stay cool is after a long day at the beach or playing at the park with the kids

is to come home and make a batch of my

Easy Peasy Makes Mommy Happy Margarita.

Here is what you will need:

a pitcher, a bottle of light beer, a can of frozen limeaid concentrate, water and Tequila.

Here is what you do:

open the beer, pour it into the pitcher, add the semi- frozen limeaid and then add small glass of water

Next it’s time for the good stuff…

add as little or as much tequilla as you want

For me, I say a half a bottle is about enough… give or take a shot or two.

Next, stir it all up

Chill it

And then it’s time for my favorite part…

partaking of a glass.

(I like my margaritas on the rocks with no salt, you can make yours any way you like it.)

Be Happy and Stay Cool!

My Mom Read What?!

“Ok, the Gator is full. I think the rest of you are going to have to walk,” my aunt said as she closed the back gate of the mini- tractor that we all called ‘Gator’.

We were spending the day at her cottage on Lake Michigan. Because of the dunes, there is a bit of a walk to the beach.

Usually, there is enough space in the Gator for people and stuff to ride but this time for whatever reason, only the littlest kids could fit among the stuff.

“Oh, I wanna ride,” Hayden whined.

I couldn’t blame him because I too wanted to ride.

Whoever made the rule that little people always get the easy way needs to be punched. I mean, come on… they are little and therefore have more energy and smaller legs which means that they could easily run down to the beach. And they are so light that their little feet would barely touch the hot sand.

Me on the other hand, I am big. I have big legs and big feet and a big body to carry around. A big body that gets sweaty and there just is no polite way to deal with boob sweat in public.

I should be the one riding.

“Now Hayden,” I semi-scolded, “we can walk. The walk down to the beach is good for us.”

Gah! I rolled my eyes at myself. Good for us, my ass.

“Let’s make is a race. I bet you can beat me,” I said, knowing full well that he couldn’t resist the challenge.

And with that he was off, dropping his towel and the small cooler he was carrying in order to haul ass faster than me down to the beach.

I bent over to pick them but and scolded myself. I should have been more specific and told him that even though, I said ‘let’s race’, I had no intention of running with him so he didn’t need to drop everything to beat me. I had planned all along to let him win.

The Gator zoomed past us with the kids laughing and giggling as it went. I sighed, juggled the things I had in my arms and started off towards the beach.

“It looks like it’s going to be a beautiful day,” my mom said when I caught up to her.

“Yeah, I am really glad it’s not so hot anymore that we can sit out here and enjoy the beach instead of feeling like we hot dogs cooking on a grill,” I said, my mom shaking her head at me for my over dramatization. “And I think that water temp should be good so the kids can play in the water and maybe I’ll get to read my book.”

My mom smiled, “Did you bring a good one along?”

I nodded and told her about the series that I was reading . She wrinkled her nose when I mentioned vampires and werewolves.

“Have you read ‘Shades of Gray’?” my mom asked me, “What a gut wrenching book. It was so sad, but so interesting. I couldn’t put it down.”

I stopped dead in my tracks.

Shit!

My mom read Fifty Shades of Grey and is now asking me about it.

My mom.

I am going to have to explain things to her.

She is going to ask me questions.

Crap!

There is no way I am going to Google things with her.

And now she is going to know that I read smut and that I have sex. Wait, I am married with children so she probably already knows that but still.

I am going to have to talk SMBD sex with my mom.

She is such an innocent flower.

This is worse than having one of the kids ask me, “Why is daddy’s penis in your vagina?” not that they ever have asked that but I would rather have that happen than this.

OMG! I am never going to be able to look at her again.

Then something in my brain clicked. Through the panic, a little twinkle of hope pushed it’s way to the surface.

“Do you mean Fifty Shades of Grey?” I asked, praying that she really had not read it.

“No, ‘Between Shades of Gray’,” she said as I released the breath I was holding, “It’s a book about the holocaust, about a young girl and her family and how they survived the concentration camps.”

“Oh, that is awesome!” I said with a giggle.

“Jennifer,” my mom said in only the way she can.

I realized my mistake and back pedaled, “Uh, no the holocaust is not awesome. That was a horrible time in history but there are some really good books out there about the topic. That is awesome.”

She looked at me, not buying it.

“The holocaust is a fascinating topic. How could people do that to other people? And then how do people survive that?” I said hoping she would take the bait and we could move on with our discussion.

“What book did you think I was talking about?” my mom asked once again showing me that she is still my mom and her ‘super mom powers’ still work just as well as when I was a teenager. “Did you mean that popular sex book?”

I stopped again and looked at her.

My brain whizzed with ideas on how to get out of this.  And finally, I decided on the best approach…RUN!

“Hey, Hayden… wait up! I am going to catch you,” I said as I ran after him.

For a conversation with my mom about Fifty Shades of Grey would be best had over wine and not while sober.

The Pool

I think that people either hate taking kids the to pool or they love it.

There is no middle ground.

The pool either gives you crazy anxiety because your children might drown, Lifeguards are paying more attention to boobs that rough-housing big kids or you can’t stand the fact that you are swimming in a big toilet. OR you see the pool as a chance to lounge in the sun, reading a book, while the kids wear themselves out.

For me, the pool is the latter.

I love taking my kids to the pool and will do it any chance I get. Of course, we don’t actually own a pool or belong to a community pool so I have to beg and plead with friend who have one.

It’s just that the kids have so much fun and after a day of swimming bed time is a breeze, in fact they usually beg to go to sleep.

Of course there are some challenges to taking the family to the pool…

While swimming there is always the problem of going to the bathroom. It never fails, you get in the pool, get all wet and then someone says, “Mommy, I have to go potty.”

If we were at a lake, I say just let it go. We swim in fish pee, they can swim in people pee.  If we were in our own pool, I say just let it go but I try to be respectful of other people’s pools.

“Mommy,” Claire screamed, “I have to go potty.”

I rolled my eyes. We had just gotten to the pool party held at the pool or my mom’s boss. Introductions of the adults were being made and small talk was following. I politely waited for a pause in the conversation to excuse myself to deal with the penny size bladder of my child.

“Ok, Claire. I’ll take you to the bathroom,” I said motioning her to swimming the edge of the pool.

“But mommy,” she once again yelled, “I don’t have to go potty anymore!”

All I could do was smile at our hosts and wish the ground would swallow me whole.

***

Spending time at a pool is always a lesson is anatomy especially with swimsuits getting smaller and smaller. And let’s face it, kids are curious about these things.

Hayden’s favorite way to swim is under water with goggles on his face. He is a naturally curious child and this a whole new way for him to explore his world.

But Hayden doesn’t really understand personal space.

We were at a friends pool and Hayden was swimming underwater and suddenly he appeared up from the water eye level with her chest.

“Do you have sunscreen on?” he asked while ogling her breasts. “Why are your boobs so brown?”

Thankfully, we are friends and she laughed. It’s strangers that don’t take to a kid up in their boobs very well. Especially the younger women in the string bikinis because Hayden treats those strings like a present that needs to be unwrapped.

I am sure the men like that Hayden pulls on the strings to untie them… they women, not so much.

***

After spending all day in the wet swimsuit and dealing with all the chaffing involved, there is nothing like putting on dry clothes. When it comes to changing, the kids don’t really care. They will just drop trow where every and offer a free show. I have little bit more modesty.

“I hope no one walks in on us,” I said to Jeff as we both quickly scrambled to get our clothes on in the small unlocked changing room.

“Don’t worry,” Jeff answered, “if someone does, I will just hide my penis in your vagina.”

***

Ah yes, the pool is always an adventure.

And that is probably what I love about going there the most.